When you apply for a green card for a spouse inside the United States through adjustment of status, the final step of the process is an in-person interview with a USCIS officer. The purpose of this interview is to verify the facts of the case and the bona-fides of the marriage. In other words, was the marriage entered into for love or for a green card. We discuss the marriage-based green card interview and the types of questions you should expect here.
When will the interview with USCIS happen?
The marriage interview with USCIS is the final step in obtaining a green card by marriage to a US citizen through adjustment of status. The interview will be scheduled once USCIS has performed the biometrics and has received all the necessary evidence to perform the interview. If USCIS requires any additional information or evidence, they can issue a request for additional evidence (RFE). Interview times vary widely depending on the local service center and can range from a few months to over a year.
What should I bring to my green card interview?
You will receive a USCIS Form I-797 Appointment Notice that will indicate the location, date, and time of your interview. The notice will also provide detailed instructions on what to bring to the interview. This includes:
- Your I-797 Appointment Notice
- Your husband or wife
- A VALID Government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card, in order to enter the building and to verify your identity at the time of the interview
- If you do not speak English, an interpreter
- If not already submitted, a completed medical examination (Form I-693) and vaccination supplement in a sealed envelope
- If not already submitted, a completed Affidavit(s) of Support (Form I-864) with all required evidence
- Letters from each current employer, verifying the current rate of pay and average weekly hours, and pay stubs for the past 2 months
- Any immigration-related documentation ever issued to you, including any Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and an Authorization for Advance Parole (Form 1-512). All travel documents used to enter the United States, including Passports, Advance Parole documents (1-512), and 1.94s (Arrival/Departure Document)
- Your Birth Certificate
- If either you or your spouse was ever married before, all divorce decrees
- Death certificates for each prior marriage/former spouse
- Birth Certificates for all children of this marriage, and custody papers for your children and for your spouse’s children not living with you
- Supporting evidence of your relationship, such as copies of any documentation regarding joint assets or liabilities you and your spouse may have. This may include: tax returns, bank statements, insurance documents (car, life, health), property documents (car, house, etc.), rental agreements, utility bills, credit cards, contracts, leases, photos, correspondence, and/or any other documents you feel may substantiate your relationship
- Original and copy of each supporting document. Otherwise, USCIS may keep your originals.
- If you have ever been arrested, bring the related Police Report and the original or certified Final Court Disposition for each arrest, even if the charges have been dismissed or expunged. If no court record is available, bring a letter from the court with jurisdiction indicating this
What questions should I expect to be asked during the interview?
You should expect the interviewing Officer to ask questions to validate your marriage as well as your eligibility for a green. Other than the questions on Form I-485 regarding admissibility, USCIS Officers typically do not have a setlist of questions. They are able to ask any questions they deem relevant to determine the bona-fides of your marriage. Such questions may include:
- How did you meet your spouse?
- Explain how your relationship developed
- Who proposed to who?
- How was the proposal done?
- Who attended your wedding?
- How did you celebrate your wedding(Honeymoon)?
- Have you met each other’s families?
- And any other question the officer may deem appropriate to determine if your marriage is real
USCIS Marriage Interview question tips?
Here are some simple tips to remember during your USCIS marriage interview:
- There are no trick questions. All questions are direct and are to verify the validity of your marriage and information on the forms.
- Provide accurate and honest answers to all questions. If you do not recall or do not know an answer, simply say so. Do not make up answers just to respond.
- If you do not know an answer or do not recall, simply say so, do not make up an answer.
- If you do not understand a question, politely ask the officer to repeat the question.
- Act as you normally would. Do not feel like you need to show affection or act in a certain way to prove your marriage is real.
- Only answer questions directed at you. Do not answer for your spouse.
Will they separate me and my spouse during the interview?
In some cases, the USCIS Officer will separate the spouses when determining if the marriage is real. This is referred to as a “Stokes Interview”. The USCIS Officer will separate the spouses into different rooms and then ask them the same questions to see if their answers are consistent. For example:
- How did you celebrate your birthday?
- Who wakes up first in the morning?
- Who takes out the garbage?
- What did you have for dinner last night?
- Who pays the rent?
- Who takes your children to school?
The questions are meant to verify that you are actually living with your spouse in a marital relationship. They aren’t questions that you can prepare for. Either you live together in real marriage or you don’t. Refer to the interview question tips above.
Family-based ImmigrationGreen Cards for Spouses
Additional Outside Resources
- USCIS: Form I-485 Adjustment of Status
- USCIS: Form I-130 Petition for a Spouse
- USCIS: Interview Guidelines
We Can Help!
The immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law have more than 20 years of experience helping people to live and work in the United States. Contact us today for an assessment of your legal situation.